Monday, December 28, 2009

Aaahhh, Cookies!


What can say yumminess better than peanut butter cookies with some chocolate? I had bought some NATURAL Skippy peanut butter that was just awful by itself, so I figured I could fix that sticky ooey gooey-ness with some sugar and chocolate- hence the cookies! (Natural Jif is definitely better tasting). Anyway, I didn't have any kisses to make the blossoms, so I made do with semi-sweet chocolate chips. They did JUST fine. What was even BETTER was the fact that my NEW Christmas present creamed up the peanut butter and sugar so well that tears were brimming in my eyes, I was so proud. Okay, I didn't cry, but pretty close to it! ;o) I begged for the KitchenAid mixer a couple of Christmases ago and the 3rd time was the charm. I got it before Christmas (no, it wasn't a surprise, but that's okay!) I used it Christmas Eve and made red velvet cupcakes, cream cheese frosting and chocolate cheesecake truffles with it. Now I want to bake anything and everything I could think of just as an excuse to use it. (Sorry Billy!) Recipe for the cookies can be found here.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Mexican Layer Bake


I made this Mexican Layer Bake last night from the Food & Family Kraft magazine I get and let me tell ya- it's already gone! It was so delicious, we dug in like we hadn't eaten in months! Just a few changes I made, only because I was almost out of one thing and I couldn't find something in another- I will place the changes in the posted recipe below:

3/4 lb. extra-lean ground beef (I made about 1-1/2 lbs)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tsp. chili powder
1-1/4 cups chunky red salsa - I used 1 cup Pace chunky salsa and 1/2 cup Old El Paso Taco Sauce
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen corn - here is where I used a 16oz. bag because I couldn't find a 10oz.
3 high-fiber whole wheat tortillas (8 inch)-(I used large, about 9 or 10 inches)
1/2 cup BREAKSTONE'S Reduced Fat or KNUDSEN Light Sour Cream (I used Daisy Light)
1-1/2 cups KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided - I just used as much cheese as I wanted since I am such a fan... I did follow the directions below though!

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

BROWN meat with onions and peppers in large skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in chili powder; cook 1 min. Add salsa and corn; mix well. Simmer 5 min.

SPREAD 1 cup meat sauce onto bottom of 8x8 or 9x9-inch baking dish; top with one tortilla; next, 1 cup meat sauce, sour cream and 1/2 cup cheese. Cover with another tortilla, 1 cup remaining meat sauce and half of remaining cheese; top with remaining tortilla and meat sauce. Cover with foil.

BAKE 25 min. or until casserole is heated through. Top with remaining cheese; bake, uncovered, 5 min. or until melted.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lingerie Party Cake

This is a cake I made in June for my friend Sherry's lingerie party- it almost turned out to be a "cake wreck" but somehow I managed! I almost had a panic attack while making this one is all I'll say (first time I had ever felt something like that coming on and hopefully the last, it was NOT FUN!)- that in combination with not having had much to eat in preparation for the party made for a bad time a few minutes before the party for me! I ended up using a 9x13 cake pan for the bodice and the small dome from the Betty Crocker ball pan for the boobies- ha- and shaped it myself. She requested a strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting, which I tripled- I think that was my one mistake- I should have made each batch separately, being that it came out too liquid and I couldn't decorate much with it- in a panic, I ended up using black frosting from a tube (which came in handy, even though I totally dislike the taste) and it saved me from having pale black "frills" on the cake. As it was, I decided I would work with what I had. The frosting poured over the cake and it settled in like satin- what's prettier than satin lingerie? Here are the pics Sherry took- yet another wacky happening that night- I took pictures for the blog and realized AFTER THE PARTY WAS OVER, that I didn't have a memory card in my camera. How awful is that?!? Thankfully Sherry took pictures and I got them from her. Here is the cake that caused me the stress of all stresses:


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Financial Peace University Cake


For our last Financial Peace University class, I decided to make a cake to celebrate our freedom from credit cards! My original idea involved a 9x13 cake cut in half decorated as a credit card, but with the time crunch I had, I had to settle for drawing it. :o) It was delicious!
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Baby Showers & Birthdays...


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Oh, the busy life of a baker... So kidding. The weekend before last just happened to be one of those weekends where there is so much going on, you don't know which way to turn. I had a baby shower to attend and a birthday party later that evening. As it was, I was requested to make a cake for each event- to which I gladly accepted, being that I want to get more practice in decorating them! The baby shower was for a girl and I wanted to make a rattle cake- which I have made before, just never decorated it the way I did this time. I took a picture without the handle (pre-delivery) and then one with. One half of the dome was chocolate and the other was golden butter.

The birthday cake was a request of a cake I had made back in August for another friend's birthday, the devil's food with chocolate icing and topped with chocolate covered strawberries, always a fun one to make since I make extra choco-covered strawberries and I LOOOOOVE to eat those! This frosting of course, is the cool whip/pudding/milk combo. Much lighter than regular frosting but just as delish. Needless to say, the cakes were a hit and both parties were great! Can't wait to make more!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blast from the PAST!!!


I know it's been a LOOOOONG year away, but I am just now posting my nephew's first birthday cakes- for some reason I keep forgetting they are there for me to post! His "smash" cake was his very own Winnie the Pooh- carrot cake (don't ask- my sister's idea) and cool whip/cream cheese pudding flavored icing. The caterpillar cake was an idea I picked up online, and I just love how it turned out. :o)


Cheerios Banana Nut Cheerios Banana Bread


I have to admit it- I am a nut- for Banana Nut Cheerios. Don't know what it is but I LOVE THEM! Naturally, I had to find a recipe for SOMETHING to make with them... And here it is:
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Tristan!

Yes, we have many, many birthdays in a row- this past Friday was my little nephew's 2nd birthday, and he had an Elmo theme. I made his cake, golden vanilla with white chocolate cool whip frosting. I think it came out quite nice. :o) I also made some quick cupcakes while at the park, to add some chocolate for those who love chocolate (namely ME! ;o) )

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Papi!

My dad turned 70 this past Sunday, we had a nice dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants called Mi Hacienda. I had their tacos de carne asada, delicious as always, it never fails! As it was, I was the cake maker and I decided I would make something special for him, to remind him of how old he is- so kidding guys, I just thought it would be nice to make a number cake for him- so I did! :o)

Blueberry FYI

Recipe has been posted! I hate I waited so long to post it because it's so delicious. But it's there! Please scroll to "I am Violet Beauregard" post! :o)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Last week was my mom's birthday, and I decided to make her a special cake- a gift box cake! If you look back in my blog, I had made one for my birthday- but not quite like this one... My father-in-law was sweet enough to purchase a silicone gift box pan that I decided to use for her cake! Finally, something I could work with... I honestly wish I had had more time and frosting to work on the cake, but didn't have much of either. I thought it came out nice anyway- I used the cool whip frosting I usually make along with canned chocolate frosting. Don't like to use that much, but in this case, I had to. I had trouble coloring the frosting to the dark brown I needed. Anyway, here it is...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I am Violet Beauregard... ;o) Willy Wonka anyone?


Ahhh, the beauty of fall... It only makes me want to eat more and more warm homemade breakfast. I first ate this Blueberry French Toast the first day of my new employment and fell in love. Needless to say, I had to snatch up the recipe and couldn't wait to make it! This long beautiful Labor Day weekend was the perfect way to start with this recipe, which I will post soon. Pumpkin pancakes are another fall favorite, and the recipe will be posted soon as well. Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend everyone! :o)
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Here is the recipe!
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
12 slices of French bread (I ended up using 18, I has small slices)
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Grease casserole dish with butter. Mix first three ingredients and put half of it in the bottom of a pan. Cover mixture with six slices of bread (or 9 like I did- truth be told, I used an 9x13 pan where I think my boss used a smaller one) either way, it worked! Sprinkle with half of the remaining sugar mixture and half of the blueberries over the bread. Beat eggs, milk and salt and pour evenly over the bread. Press down a bit, and here comes the hard part- REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT! Yes, you have to wait to eat this wonderful breakfast... Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. It says to serve with syrup on the side, but this is wonderful enough on it's own, up to you to use it or not! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mounds of Chocolatey Goodness!

I hate that it has been a while since I have posted something, I have been so busy with a new job and a lot of other things going on! We are having a birthday party for a friend and she requested a chocolate cake with chocolate icing- I made my own (check out the cool whip icing recipe, just substitute regular chocolate pudding or chocolate fudge for the white chocolate pudding) and I added some chocolate covered strawberries for good measure. I can't wait to eat some!

Monday, June 22, 2009

NYC, take THREE!

Day 3 of New York, we ventured out to have dinner at BLT- I didn't take any breakfast, lunch or brunch pictures, being that I wasn't feeling too well so I didn't really eat much that morning... The burger was THE BEST. Unfortunately I couldn't finish it, I felt a fever coming on and I could barely eat anything. I ate about 1/4 of the burger and some sweet potato fries.

Oddly enough, after some fresh air, I started feeling a bit better and we stopped by Crumbs, only the best cupcakery around! I had to have the Blackout, nothing but chocolate, chocolate, CHOCOLATE!!! Billy and I split it, Bijal had the classic and delicious vanilla, and her cousin Madalsa opted for the Capuccino. Two words: Cupcake Heaven

New York Part Deux!!!

I know! I know, it was a long time coming.... I'm going to keep the comments short and sweet... First up, PENELOPE'S.... AWESOME food... AWESOME. Did I say awesome? My sandwich was perfect. Hummus and Avocado with tomato, red onion, arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic dressing on somun(fluffy flat bread), next to a spinach salad with dried cranberries and vinaigrette- MY FAVE!!!

Billy had a grilled chicken club sandwich with fries, and Bijal had the FBLT (Fakin' Bacon) BLT!

Later that evening, we headed to Blue Hill Grill and had dinner by candlelight:

Bijal and I opted for the Hake (a type of fish I had never heard of) with baby clams I think? Unbelievably I can't remember, and Billy had the pork tenderloin.

All in all, a delicious day 2!!! Sorry it was dark in there!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Taste of Summer...


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE grilled fruits and veggies more than anything, I just had to make some teriyaki chicken, red bell pepper and pineapple kabobs... Great combo, if you've never had it... YUM! I love summertime foods!
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Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law! I made his birthday cake, a wonderful strawberry yogurt cake with vanilla frosting, courtesy of Betty Crocker! Got the recipe off the box of Golden Vanilla... Check it out!
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Skittles... Taste the Rainbow!

My niece LOOOOOVES Skittles- and she wanted a Skittles cake for her birthday! Naturally, I HAD to ask if I could make the cake... I had an idea for a large Skittle surrounded by a couple of smaller ones in different colors and she said YES! I was going to place a dome upside down with one on top of it, but that would have caused a MAJOR cake wreck; the top half was too heavy for the bottom half to hold and it almost started splitting. We ended up with 4 cakes, two large domes and 2 little ones. They each had a letter like the "S" on the Skittle, except she wanted me to put her friends' initials on their favorite colors. Her name is Josie and she wanted the "J" on the blue cake, and we also had an "L" for the red cake and a "K" for the green cake. The "S" was saved for the large yellow. :o)

Surprise! Skittles!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Billy's Monster Birthday Cake!

So Billy had a special request for his birthday cake, Mrs. D's Birthday Extravaganza (Not Mrs. D as in ME, this came from a wonderful cookbook I have called "Death by Chocolate Cakes")- anyway, it's a towering hunk 'o chocolate heaven with a ganache filling and chocolate cashew mousse frosting. I didn't decorate it very well, didn't have the right tools- but it tasted delicious! The cake was supposed to have a border of mini chocolate chips, but I forgot to add those- it's a good thing I did... I know there's not such a thing as TOO much chocolate, but in this case.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gatlinburg Yummies!

Okay, okay... I know I haven't updated New York Part Deux, but it's going to take me a while and I haven't found much time for anything! Lots to do, lots to see... We went to Gatlinburg for a beautiful wedding this weekend, and really, the only thing I could get a decent picture of was our Saturday lunch because the rest consisted of quick KFC and BK trips. HA! Anyway, we ended up at Bubba Gumps and had the most amazing mahi-mahi dish with rice and one of my favorite veggies, asparagus (among others) and rice. Billy had a shrimp stir fry that was equally delicious and I managed to get a picture of Daniel's Fish & Chips, and Shareese's cheeseburger (hey, it looked really good eh?) Pics are below!

As you can tell, I REALLY enjoyed my dish- either that, or I was really hungry! I think it was a little bit of both!